Editorial: Have We Reached A Breaking Point??

Those of you who regularly tune into our site know that on Mondays (sometimes very, very late Monday) we either discuss a really dope mix, or we will run down the hottest mixes of a particular song. Well this week, we did the latter, and it was actually quite an experience.

Here’s how the process usually works: 1) JD and I decide which mix we will talk about. Usually, it’s whatever the hottest song of the moment is. This week was “California Gurls” by Katy Perry ft. Snoop. 2) We head over to each record pool and remix site one by one, and search for the song to see what mixes pop up. Sometimes this can be difficult if the title doesn’t contain a unique word. For instance, going to a site and searching for Luda “How Low” mixes will probably be a hassle, because both words in the title are common and you will get a ton of results. Searching the words “California” or “Gurls” wasn’t as bad. (Just for the record, big props to DjCity.com because their site is the easiest to search on. If you want to see what other mixes there are of the song you are looking at, you just need to scroll down a little bit because they always list them under the song you are at!!)
3) We listen to all the remixes that come up, and write them down. 4) We choose the best of what we find and put them on our site for you guys to check out. Needless to say, this week was quite an adventure.

What JD and I found this week bordered on insanity. If you watched Mondays vid, then you know the problem. Wayyyyy too many mixes. Absolutely nuts. No, really.

Maybe, this song was just the perfect storm. Maybe since it’s really the only big upbeat pop song to come out in the last couple months, and because it has the name of an older hit song, there was destined to be lots of mixes for this. But I’m scared to think this is just the direction that the remix game has turned. “OMG” had a lot of mixes, but this was three times as much. Lots of DJs did remixes incorporating the Beach Boys or Mamas and Papas. Some DJs did either House or BMore redrums. Other DJs blended the acapella over an electro beat. Quite a few DJs made transitions. And most scary — a decent number of DJs seem to do all those!! Alot of the big names on all sites did three or four Cali Gurl mixes. It was a nightmare going through all these.

I remember the early days of Crooklyn Clan when you could still be the first to remix or redrum a certain song. All the rock acapellas that are out now, we’re slowly being released, and not everyone had access to them. Plus, It seemed as though DJs at this point, didn’t even want to do something another DJ had already done. “DAMN!! DJ _____ just did a redrum to the song I was going to do. No biggie, I’ll just find another one to do.” Obviously, those days are long gone. There’s alot more sites, and alot more DJs. And more importantly, there’s money to be made. Everyone knows peeps are looking for remixes of Cali Gurls to play, so who’s to say only DJ _____ should be able to remix it. When JD and I did our search, there were sooooo many electro blends, and many done by newer DJs we hadn’t heard of. It made me think, “How in the world is this DJ gonna get noticed by doing this? 1000 other guys did the same thing.” But then again, it’s the same answer as before. “Why should only Deville, BeatBreaker, Clubheadliners, etc be able to remix this song?” So you have to consider that. I mean, if you’re a DJ on the site, there is pressure to sell. And if you wanna keep your sales up, then you pretty much have to remix a song like this, and maybe even put up three or four mixes, like many DJs did.

Perhaps some would look at this as a good thing. More remixes = more choices. But not me. With all the choices, I think many people will skip the daunting task of going through each one, and just settle for one of the first few they happen to hear. That’s the first problem. The second problem is that even more likely, they will just look to see what the big names have done with the song. That’s cool because those DJs have earned that respect. But the problem is that its gonna be nearly impossible for up and coming DJs to get noticed.

While it hasn’t been a secret that the remix game has been changing, this is the first time that I’ve been a little worried about it. If this trend continues for every big song that comes out, I’m not sure exactly how it will play it. I just know I’m not very excited to see.

Spring
http://facebook.com/jayspringfans

6 comments

  1. Jack….we were gonna try to edit your comment and put up a “toned down” version, but we didn’t wanna change any words without your permission. Unfortunately, your comment as it was, had a little too much name calling. We know during the “Bootleg Rage” post, the comments got a little out of hand, but we’re trying not to have that happen again. We do appreciate you checking in and leaving comments, and your comment did have a lot of good points. We hope you understand why we couldn’t keep it up though :)

  2. IMO, I feel this: Rewind 10, even 5 years ago…computer and dj equiptment was not to the level of technology as it is today. Less known or “Bedroom DJ’s” and Remixers alike were tooling around on thier 1200’s and maybe a 4 or 8 track machine, trying to do what they could with what they had…For the most part, like me in the early 90’s… our remix techniques were really crude versus what we can bang out today with gear and computers that are virtually light years away from the 90’s gear…. We would maybe play an instrumental 12″ vinyl on one table, and throw the acapella on on the other table, and manually keep the acapella synced by the spindle or side of platter on the acapella to keep it matched up to the inst.

    At the same time internet MP3’s and burning your own CDs were in some cases years away or just scratching the horizon, so what you had were local DJs playing and remixing in thier live sets, the remixes they recorded to 4 track tape at home. Some DJs I knew, even brought thier 4 track machines to the club or made a two track DAT copy, so they didnt have to remix on the fly, and focus more on thier set playlist. In short accessing your mix or my mix was limited in most cases to manually handing out a copy DAT or something like that to just your DJ circle and some other DJs. Beyond that most of us back then were fine with the likes of 2cd Nature, Roonie G, Sean Cunningham and the whole X-Mix and Ultimix Remix team gracing us with thier fine Remixes on every volume.

    Fast foward to today, and like Spring mentions…the remix market is(and is getting) quite frankly, over saturated with remixes. Part of this obviously has to do with the influx of technology, if not a lot of it has to do with it….Ever since computer processors and memory got faster, more “Bedroom” and “Project” studio gear released, more and more “So Called” DJs are entering the market to give a crack at the industry. As these “Unknown” or up and coming DJs make thier way thru and start producing some good quality remixes, they now have a place to share them with the world, and that place is the internet…Even several years before the remix sites and MP3s took off, the “Burn-It-Yourself” CD revolution was on fire….At the time burning your own production or remix on CD was the pinnacle of your job as a DJ/Remixer…Not only were you allowed to now easily play your on remix at your DJ residency on CDs, it was now easily accesible to send out high quality digital versions of your productions to the DJs/Remixers and record companies in hopes of making it…This was an evolving revolution, and just when it seemed to get no better, 2004-05 saw the likes of serato and the MP3 age…Now DJs/Remixers were able to make a remix, send it thru email to a DJ friend who was already DJing at his or her residency, that DJ could download it and play it immediatly!

    This truely was the pinnacle of our work. This excited up and coming DJs that werent even known to anyone, but using the technology to thier advantage allowed them to post thier top quality remixes to remix sites that had material from well respected top name DJs, and today in this game, the lines have blurred when it comes to remix production, obviously were going to always get quality and sick remixes from the top names in the industry(after all, they deserve the respect, like Spring said), however DJ X for example might be getting the same respect for a mix that faired just as good as the top dogs in the game….thats a debate within itself!

    Back in the late 90s, I was mentoring one of my DJ buddies on song structure and how to build a song from the ground up…shortly after he saw what I was doing remix wise, and I was using the typical X-Mix Ultimix DJ friendly structure, so he said why should I pay for remixes hen I can do them myself like Brian is doing(sidenote: I never fully agreed with this whole heartely, seeing I was the type to mix in others remixes with my own, to get a variety of sound within my sets)…One thing I’ll never forget him saying though, is that he would never follow the norm and do the obvious for a remix, because than your remixes sound like everyone elses, and you wont stand out as much. A good example is “California Gurls”. Of course it was going to be expected that one or more, or in this case a googleplex of Djs were going to throw in the beach boys acapella of “Califorina Girls”. However in todays open format clubs, you have to play what is familiar to the crowds, and as much as someone might fight the urge to throw in the beach boys, you know if you make that remix happen and play it around peak hour, the crowd is gonna go nuts, drunk and all singing along, so I say, why not, after all we make remixes and DJ to please the crowd, and in return that pleases us…..by far it is a natural high and the only drug of choice for me!

    So I guess in short, as more technology creeps into the woodworks of the project studios, more unknown, up and coming DJs are blurring the lines of the quality factor of “Pro DJ” vs…”Just started last year DJs” and as programs like Abletons “Bridge” are released, these new DJs are going to be enterting a world of new undiscovered possiblities, and all of us that started, like myself splicing actual 1/4″ tape and track machine remixes, this will be a refreshing welcome for all the hard work we did back in the day, when remixing and DJing were much more of a learning skill then what technology is doing to make our DJ/Remix lives easier today. Even though I started remixing back in the early 90s, today my skills are more sharper than ever thanks to practice! I would bang out volumes of remixes, and didnt have the internet to channel them thru.. Todays remixer DJ can use the internet as thier outlet to discovery, and because I remain sort of old school till this day, I wasnt even aware of all this remix website stuff till just 2 years ago! So like Spring said, I too believe the art of remix and production and the new DJ/Remixers coming online each and every day, its almost overwhelming to think what could be out there that you havnt heard from an unknown…You have to draw the line somewhere I guess, and thats why we always first can count on the top named remix/DJs in the industry to time and time again deliver the goods!

  3. no problem guys.. sorry for getting carried away, I honestly just call them like I see them. No real bias..

  4. @ Jack — All good dude, I know there’s alot of peeps who feel the same way you do. You’re always welcome to say that stuff, just without the names attached.

    @Brian — Good points. I still think the main problem, and Jack mentioned this in his is comment, is that peeps are trying to sell. So that means, everyone is gonna do a California Gurls remix, and they don’t care how many time it’s been done before. And the bottom line is, they have every right to do it. It just gets crazy when more California Gurls remixes exist than there are DJs.

  5. Thanks for clarifying this for me, your right JD…I think I might of read into Springs editorial the wrong way, and I based my comment on how I took what he said…I wrote from an over saturation of DJs flooding the market and with that brings tons more remixes for us to get our hands on, when in fact as I understand the editorial now, looks like I get it…I think…LOL!

    So if Im understanding correctly, yes I agree, DJs when it comes to the remix sites, are trying to sell thier remixes, and any DJ out there making money off thier remixes weather they are a top name or just starting out would be foolish not to cash in on the hottest song of the moment, in this case California Gurls. So in turn they make several remixes knowing people will buy them….thus the over whelming # of remixes out there!

  6. I can definitely second the point of with so many remix’s of each track being produced and distributed now, it’s easy to skip over the unknowns and go straight for the big names.

    I use DJcity so when I find that new track I want and see the list of related files, if there are 2-3 I will open them all and decide which I like best. Sometimes grabbing more than one. If I am looking at a track that has 10+ remixes listed though I will straight away pick the names I know and ignore the rest. I know I could very easily miss a potential gem and not pick up on somebody that’s coming up, I just don’t have the motivation to listen to 10 tracks that generally will be very similar.

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